After Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. and Clemson’s Myles Murphy, the 2023 EDGE class remains fluid. Isaiah Foskey, Tyree Wilson, and BJ Ojulari are just a few names mentioned in the tier behind the two blue-chip prospects. But there is a Washington EDGE worthy of consideration — Bralen Trice. And as his NFL draft indicates, Trice may just be the “best of the rest.”
Bralen Trice NFL Draft Profile
Trice isn’t your usual former five-star recruit that attended a high school powerhouse. He didn’t pick up pads and a helmet until middle school and was a late bloomer at Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix, Arizona. As a junior, he recorded 75 tackles, 14.5 sacks, five pass deflections, and five fumble recoveries.
However, Trice wasn’t just a star on defense. He was also the team’s primary punter. His versatility shouldn’t have been surprising, as Trice played basketball, karate, soccer, and baseball prior to stepping on a football field. By the time he entered his senior campaign, the Arizona native held 10+ offers, including Notre Dame, Oregon, and Alabama. Yet, only one team secured Trice’s signature, and it wasn’t any of the previously mentioned programs.
“I felt both in heart and mind that UW will set me up for life and in the career I want to pursue,” Trice said at the time of his commitment to Washington.
Due in part to the sheer amount of talent the Huskies had at EDGE, Trice redshirted his first year. Then COVID hit in 2020, and he chose to opt-out of the season. By the time he returned in 2021, it was obvious Trice didn’t spend his time leisurely, as he bulked up to 260 pounds.
Brice flashed his skill set last season, notching five tackles for loss and two sacks in two starts. But 2022 appears to be his breakout. Through five games, he’s wracked up seven tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and a whole lot more QB pressures.
Regardless, it’s important to note Trice is only a redshirt sophomore in his second season on the field despite being a fourth-year player. Thus, there’s no guarantee he will declare for the 2023 draft.
- Position: EDGE
- School: Washington
- Current Year: Redshirt Sophomore
- Height/Weight: 6’4″, 269 pounds
Bralen Trice Scouting Report
Last year, former Washington OLB coach Ikaika Malloe said Trice “probably will be better than Joe Tryon.” (That’s 2021 first-round pick Joe Tryon, I might add.)
But that was last year. New OLB coach Eric Schmidt stated, “[Trice is] the first guy out [at practice] from our position group every day. So his entire approach to how you become great has been really good ever since we got here.”
The words from coaches Trice has spent the most time with not enough? How about from UW head coach Kalen DeBoer:
“Gosh, he’s impressive. He’s hard to handle because he’s strong enough where he really gets into you off the edge, especially if you’re pass-setting. But he’s also a high-effort guy that runs well. He brings it all. He’s just a well-rounded football player. He’s been fun to watch, and he’s certainly a guy you can hang your hat on — I know that.”
The glowing endorsements mean nothing if it doesn’t translate to the field — I’m happy to report it has.
Where Trice Wins
Trice is only playing in his second season of collegiate football, but you couldn’t tell by turning on his tape. He has the power of a bull but without the recklessness that terrorizes china shops. His thickly built 6’4″ and nearly 270-pound frame stores immense strength that Trice can instantly tap into off the snap. And his temperament is that of a starved animal, with the QB providing a fresh meal each down.
The Washington EDGE has the explosiveness to convert speed to power regularly, making him a menace on stunts. On the outside, his first step and long strides close space in a hurry, forcing OTs to react rather than bring the fight to him. Trice’s ideal height/length combination allows him to win upon contact and disengage quickly.
Athletically, Trice isn’t elite, but he has flexible enough ankles to reduce rush angles. More impressively, he’s able to align his lower and upper body toward the QB as soon as he gets a step on his opponent. So far, so good, right? Well, it gets better. The Washington EDGE’s hand usage is exceptional and beyond his years.
Trice loads up his hands to generate power and launches into opponents, visibly knocking them back. He is one of the nation’s best bull rushers — with a head of steam, he’s collapsing a pocket swiftly. But that wouldn’t be possible without proper hand placement.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
The UW defender routinely strikes inside the tackle’s shoulder pads, latching with immense grip strength. As a result, he’s often able to control the point of engagement and steer his opponent.
Yet, hand usage is more than just placement. Trice’s hands remain active throughout reps, engaging, disengaging, and countering the man across from him. If OTs attempt to jump-set him, Trice blows their hands aside and takes the open track to the QB. His footwork provides an excellent pairing, keeping him balanced and laterally spry.
You don’t often see players with Trice’s power and youth come with a plan of attack, but he does. His overwhelming long arms and extensions punish linemen off-balance, and he can stack moves with ease using his synergized upper and lower body.
In run defense, the UW product effortlessly sets the edge. Trice can absorb pulling blockers, stopping them in their tracks. He sinks his pads, extends his arm, and peers into the backfield to see where the ball carrier is flowing. Once he recognizes the rushing lane, he sidesteps blocks and can square up runners in the hole. And with his lateral athleticism, Trice works down and fills gaps.
The cherry on top of Trice’s scouting report is his experience on special teams and overall discipline. Over the last two years, he’s been a part of the punt return, punt coverage, field goal, and field-goal block units. Meanwhile, he’s been called for just three penalties across 480+ total career snaps.
Trice’s Areas for Improvement
Although I just waxed poetic about what makes Trice a notable draft prospect, he isn’t flawless. Dropping his hips and sinking under blocks isn’t his forte. Offensive linemen frequently ride him past the QB around the outside arc. That lack of bend/hip flexibility and short-area agility dilutes Trice’s profile.
The Washington EDGE doesn’t possesses the ankle flexion or twitch to ghost off the edge or cross a tackle’s face before they get a guiding arm on his shoulder. As a result, he must decelerate and reset when trying to make sudden moves. This applies in space, as Trice can be stiff when changing directions. He’s dropped back in coverage for the Huskies, but Trice shouldn’t be asked to do so with any regularity in the NFL.
At the apex of rushes, Trice can raise his pad level, stalling his leg drive and effectively deadening his initial attack. If the opposition thwarts his first move, he resorts to moves seemingly without rhyme or reason, such as a spin away from the ball, to no avail. The determination is there for Trice to generate second and even third-effort pressures, but he must add to his pass-rush repertoire in order to do so productively.
In run defense, the UW defender is occasionally slow reacting to runs, resulting in positive gains to his side of the field. He easily sets the edge and has the frame and power to be a force in run defense. But Trice must keep his eye on the ball and improve his response time.
Lastly, Trice is currently a below-average tackler. Luckily, it’s not a length or play-strength issue but rather a technical one. His form isn’t consistent, as he can leave his feet too early, shoot his arms too high, or drop his head, resulting in broken tackles.
Current Draft Projection for Washington EDGE Bralen Trice
Much of the attention in Washington’s EDGE room has gone to Zion Tupuola-Fetui and even Texas A&M transfer Jeremiah Martin. While those pass rushers are also enticing prospects, Trice is far and away the leader of the group. And he may not even declare this year!
The race behind Will Anderson Jr. and Myles Murphy for the EDGE 3-5 spots is wide open … but one of them has Trice’s name on it. Washington deploys Trice as a 3-4 OLB or in a wide-9 alignment, which is where he translates best to the pros. He doesn’t play with consistent enough leverage to feel comfortable about him over tackles every down just yet.
There is still plenty of games left, and Trice played with a club on his right hand against UCLA, limiting his potency. Nevertheless, I believe Trice has a first-round ceiling with a Day 2 floor. Tryon went No. 32 overall despite not playing the season before and owning a skill set that needed some polish. But Trice isn’t the next — or even better — Joe Tryon … he’s the next Bralen Trice:
“I’m the next me, you know what I’m saying? You all are going to see my name and you’re going to hear me.”